Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “I’ll Remember April”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Background/Discussion Who would guess that such a lovely and enduring ballad – musically and lyrically – was written for and featured in a raucous Abbott and Costello movie, the 1942 Ride ‘em Cowboy. For jazz fans the movie holds yet another attraction. It was one of a handful of… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “I’ll Remember April”

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Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Alive: “It Had To Be You”

By Roger Crane the Song Scout When I meet jazz performers, composers and fellow music fans I often inquire as to their favorite songs. I recall that the masterful jazz pianist Dave McKenna chose “I’ll Be Around,” giving particular praise to Alec Wilders’s bridge (where his lyrics state “Goodbye again.”). Another jazz pianist, Gerry Wiggins,… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Alive: “It Had To Be You”

Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Studio City, CA.  It wasn’t quite Johnny Mandel’s birthday last night.  Not yet.  But it was close enough to the actual date – November 25 – to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the great composer and arranger. And the packed crowd at Vitello’s enthusiastically joined in a group singing of “Happy Birthday.” … Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Vitello’s was packed to the gills Saturday night.  And with good reason.  Johnny Mandel was making one of his rare appearances, leading an assemblage of Southland jazz all-stars in an evening surveying his long, productive career as a composer, arranger and songwriter. At 86, recovering from hip problems and walking with a… Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: The Eddie Daniels Quartet at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Clarinetist Eddie Daniels’ masterful performance at Vitello’s Friday was – as his appearances often are – a gripping reminder of his instrument’s adventurous jazz past, present and future. For the first half of the jazz century, the clarinet was one of the music’s key voices.  Vital to the New Orleans style, a… Read More Live Jazz: The Eddie Daniels Quartet at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: Don Menza’s Stan Getz Tribute at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

By Don Heckman Don Menza picked the right players for his Stan Getz tribute at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. Tuesday night.  The saxophone quartet of Menza, Pete Christlieb, Gary Foster (on tenors) and Gene Cipriano (on baritone) brought plenty of experience, skill and Getz-knowledge to the proceedings. Trumpeter Don Rader added some cool contrast, and the… Read More Live Jazz: Don Menza’s Stan Getz Tribute at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.